The stoic male can be a stupid male

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2003

Not long ago I wrote a column entitled &uot;Love Story.&uot; I hoped to express the feelings of many who felt it unfair and unnecessary to eliminate the words &uot;Louise&uot; and &uot;Memorial&uot; from the name of the new &uot;Obici&uot; hospital. Later there was much protest over tearing down the old Louise Obici Memorial Hospital buildings because it contained much Suffolk history and could have, in the opinion of the protestors, served many other purposes. But down it will go and the question now revolves around what will be constructed there, worthy of the &uot;sacred&uot; ground selected by Amedeo Obici who made Suffolk and peanuts famous.

But now I want to approach the facility from a different angle, from the perspective of a paying customer. Even via the emergency room one should not be allowed access be-cause of some trivial matter, I wanted to see exactly how it would function if one had a genuine reason for attempting to spend a night or two. So I fractured my right hip. There had been this fall when I unknowingly got my feet tangled in the many cords under my desk that led to the computer I use to produce these &uot;my opinion&uot; columns. My feet remained stationary when I attempted to step away but 220 pounds of me kept going until I landed smack on the hip, shoulder and bonehead. I say bonehead because it took me 10 days of painful maneuvering before I finally listened to my friends, my children, and my insistent wife; all of them had been correct when they said, &uot;Look, stupid, you might have broken it.&uot; By that time I was in a walker believing that old axiom, &uot;heal thyself.&uot;

Because my doctor booked me in via his office phone I sailed through &uot;admittance&uot; and was wheel-chaired into the ER where my good friend Dr. Chambers welcomed me with thorough attention. It was like entering a bees’ nest, people in green whirling around the room attending to the many others also requiring a friendly hello. It wasn’t long before they had me stuffed in that MRI, a white sewage crock with machine guns going off in your head even through the earplugs. MRI should stand for Miserable Rigid Invention. Thirty minutes of that monster seemed to triple the pain but the relief felt when you are moved out of that claustrophobic hell offsets it. There were no second opinions, no waiting, somebody selected a surgeon who wasn’t on his way to the Bahamas, and I was prepped for fun and games the next morning.

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I have never been so thoroughly gone over since my birth. Nurses checked everything possible and some that weren’t. They tested my blood 10 ways, my blood pressure was read every 15 minutes for three days and temperature twice that often. It was difficult to find time to nap because they were so inquisitive throughout my stay. All were great people and friendly. I have to say I enjoyed everything but the pain. The meals were great, when I was able to eat them, and the little helper stood with her laptop and ordered my meal quicker than they do in a restaurant. It was served hot in a covered dish like those to first-class ticket holders on a top airline, which I have never experienced. Try as I might I could not find fault with anything. And I met at least 50 nurses.

The surgery was a piece of cake, I felt nothing from the belly button down and was awake enough the rest of the way up to watch them play with the closing staples. I imagine it was an ordinary hip job and I am now the proud owner of several titanium screws. The boys at the courthouse will give me a bad time when the alarm bell rings and I’ll have to moon them so they can see the scar. But that will be a long time from now. Even the friendly therapists from Heartland can’t find a way to get me back on two legs in less than a month. The doctor insists no weight on it for six weeks, and even though I am stoic and stupid I will take no chances. The message here is this: when anyone that even likes you tells you to see a doctor, do it. Do not be stoic and stupid, as it does not pay.

When they find what is really wrong, you will put your wife through hell taking care of you. And if you must go to a hospital, go to the Louise Obici Memorial. You’ll love it.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist.